Tag:Arkansas
Posted on: February 6, 2012 11:18 am
Edited on: February 6, 2012 11:53 am
 

Weekend winners and losers

Here is a look at the teams that helped and hurt themselves significantly this weekend. 

Winners:

Missouri -- The big win over Kansas will be a big help in the battle to be a No. 1 seed.  Of course, those two will play again.  Maybe twice more.

Ohio State and Indiana -- Both teams picked up their first significant road wins of the season.  The Buckeyes won at Wisconsin and IU beat Purdue at Mackey.

Notre Dame -- The Irish continued their resurgance with a 76-59 pounding of Marquette, which had won seven straight.  Notre Dame's winning streak is up to four, and all four are quality wins.

Memphis -- After struggling against better non-conference foes, the Tigers picked up a big comeback win over Xavier.  That is arguably their best non-conference win.  However, the Tigers also won at Miami, a win that looks a lot better today...

Miami -- The Hurricanes won at Duke for their fourth straight win, and easily their best of the season.  It puts Miami squarely in the tournament chase.

Northwestern -- Just when you thought they were dead after losing at home to Purdue last weekend, they went to Champaign and beat Illinois yesterday.

Losers:

Seton Hall -- The freefall continues.  A 23-point loss at Connecticut is the Pirates sixth straight defeat.

Dayton -- Speaking of freefalling, it's an annual ritual for the Flyers.  Their loss to Saint Louis over the weekend was their fourth in a row.

Purdue -- Losing at home to Indiana is never good for the Boilers, but their inabilitly to defend the home floor against tournament quality opposition may send them to the NIT.

Arkansas -- Lost at LSU and still looking for its first win outside Fayetteville.

Xavier -- The Muskies lost an opportunity at Memphis and have now lost three of five with a difficult stretch of the schedule coming up soon.

Oklahoma -- The Sooners have been on thin ice at best, but a home loss to Iowa State means the climb back to tournament contention may be too big a task.

Nevada -- The Wolf Pack still leads the WAC, but a home loss to Idaho may mean they have to beat Iona in the bracket buster to resuscitate any at-large chances they may have had.



Posted on: February 1, 2012 1:18 pm
 

Feb. 1 bracket

It's February, the home stretch of the season, and today's bracket features a lot of teams going in the wrong direction.

West Virginia lost three times since the last bracket was posted, and fell six spots this week.  The Mountaineers lost at St. John's and at home to suddenly resurgent Pittsburgh, sandwiched around that controversial loss at Syracuse.

Seton Hall is also fading fast.  The Hall got off to a great start this season, but now has lost five in a row.  To make matters worse, the opponents that mark their best wins - UConn, West Virginia and Dayton - are also struggling.

The Huskies have lost three i row and five of their last seven.  The addition of Ryan Boatright should help, once he works his way into form.

It's not all bad news for the Big East, along with Pitt, Notre Dame is coming on and has crawled onto the bracket in the PIGs.  The Irish have very little margin for error though.  Despite a nice collection of wins (Syracuse at home, and at Louisville, UConn and Seton Hall), they are only 7-8 vs the top 200 teams in the RPI, and that's a very negative indicator for tournament selection.

Northwestern is stll hanging on by a thread after a loss to Purdue at home this week (a much needed win for the Boilers, by the way).  The best thing working for the Cats is that Purdue is the lowest rated team to beat them this year, and they have a couple good wins, although one of them -- Seton Hall -- looks worse every day.

Honestly, the fact that Notre Dame and Northwestern, along with Colorado State and Oklahoma, which round out the First Four, are in a bracket is reason enough to go back to the 64-team field.

Florida made the biggest move up this week by filling in a couple of holes in their tournament profile.  Their sweep of the Mississippi schools, including a win at Ole Miss, gave them two more top 50 RPI wins (three total now) and their first win of any consequence away from home.

Dropping off the bracket this week were BYU, Texas, Marshall, UCF and NC State.  Coming on were Notre Dame, Colorado State, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Saint Louis.  All ten belong in the NIT.

Dayton almost fell off too after losing twice this week, including a real head-scratcher at home to RPI No. 263 Rhode Island.

Michigan State lost more than a game to Illinois last night.  The Spartans' heart and soul, Draymond Green, limped off the floor late with an apparent knee injury.  If that is serious and causes him to miss significant time, that will be a big blow to Michigan State's chances of a deep run in the NCAA Tournament.

The highest rated team in the RPI not in my bracket is No. 47 Arkansas.  The Hogs are the ultimate Home Court Hero, with a 16-1 home record.  The Hogs are 16-0 in Fayetteville, and lost to Houston in Little Rock, which the NCAA considers a home game.  They are the only team in college basketball with at least a .500 record that has yet to win off its home floor.

The next bracket will be posted on Tuesday as we move to a twice-a-week schedule.
Posted on: December 1, 2011 2:31 pm
 

BCS: What's left to be decided?

Technically, every BCS bid is still up for grabs as we enter the final weekend.  All six AQ conference championships will be determined, and of course, the four at-large spots.  Three teams could automatically qualify this weekend, two of them without even stepping on the field.

Starting at the top:

SEC -- LSU vs Georgia.  If LSU wins, we will get an LSU (AQ)-Alabama (automatic at-large) rematch in the BCS title game.  If Georgia wins, it will go to the Sugar Bowl unless voters move them WAY up to No. 1 or 2.  LSU and Alabama could still be 1-2, which would make them automatic at-larges and give the SEC three teams.  However, if either drops out of the top two, it will not be in a BCS game at all.

ACC -- Virginia Tech vs Clemson.  The Tigers won the first meeting 23-3 in Blacksburg, but it's the Hokies who are on a roll right now, while Clemson is just rolling over.

Big 12 -- Oklahoma at Oklahoma State.  Bedlam.  The Cowboys haven't beaten the Sooners since 2002.  A convincing win by OSU may not be convincing enough to convince voters to move them up past Alabama.  Not to mention Virginia Tech and Stanford, which are between the Cowboys and the Tide in the polls.

Pac-12 -- Oregon vs UCLA.  UCLA gets to go to bowl even if it loses to fall to 6-7.  That's a shame for the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, which would likely get the Bruins, and for some deserving, eligible team that stays home.

Big Ten -- Wisconsin vs Michigan State.  Sparty won the first meeting on a Hail Mary pass.  Wisconsin lost twice on that play.  The Badgers are about 30 second from playing for a shot at LSU this weekend.

Big East -- Connecticut at Cincinnati.  If the Bearcats lose, 7-5 Louisville wins the league and the Big East sends an unranked team to the BCS for the second consecutive year.  Otherwise...

Big East -- West Virginia at South Florida.  This game is on Thursday, so Cincinnati will know if its win matters for them or not.  If West Virginia wins, the Mountaineers will go to the BCS.  If West Virginia loses, then the Bearcats are BCS-bound.

At-larges:

Alabama -- If in the top two, the Tide automatically qualifies.
Stanford -- The Cardinal are currently fourth.  If they hold that spot (or move up), they too, would automatically qualify for an at-large spot.
Houston -- The Cougars will be in also if they win the C-USA title.  A loss would open the door for...
TCU -- The Frogs need a Houston loss and to crawl up two spots to get to the top 16.

Other teams that could be in the at-large pool to be selected include (depending on other results) Kansas State, Michigan, Boise State and Baylor.

Arkansas and South Carolina figure to be in the top 14, but because of the two-team limit, won't be able to be chosen.

Posted on: November 27, 2011 9:19 am
Edited on: November 27, 2011 4:57 pm
 

BCS projections, Nov. 19, little movement

There shouldn't be very much movement in this week's BCS standings

Arkansas fell to tenth in the coaches' poll and ninth in the Harris poll.  The Hogs will still be pretty high overall this week, but outside the top five.

Alabama's lead over No. 3 Virginia Tech is 120 points - or more than two points per voter.  That means the Hokies are more like the fourth-rated team than the third-rated team.  Stanford is only two points behind Virginia Tech, and Oklahoma St is another 44 points back of that.  It's hard to imagine voters voting one of those three teams up suddenly next week.

The bowl projections have been updated.  Michigan is still slotted in the Sugar Bowl, although the Wolverines will need to get into the top 14 to qualify.  They project 16th this week.  The projections assume losses by Georgia and Oklahoma, and they should also pass whichever team loses the Big Ten title game.

One thing that baffles me is the notion that we will have an LSU-Alabama rematch for the BCS title no matter what happens next week.  That's silly.  There is no justification for rematching those teams if Georgia wins the SEC.  If there is going to be a rematch at that point, it should be Georgia-LSU, not Alabama-LSU.  Alabama would have won nothing.  Not the division, not the league, nothing.  I realize that is true even if LSU wins the SEC, but it's a lot easier to make the case that the Tide is the second best team in the league (and country) if only one team was more successful than them in conference play.




Category: NCAAF
Posted on: November 22, 2011 10:32 am
 

What if....?

The only sure thing in the BCS title chase entering the second-to-last weekend of the season is chaos.  Well, and that LSU will play for the title if it finishes 13-0.

But, what if....

...Alabama beats Auburn?  Barring other upsets, Alabama is likely to play for the title too, but it's not a sure thing.  Voters could get to December 4th and decide they don't want a rematch and/or do want to reward a conference champion.  Is that likely?  It wouldn't seem so, and the only team I could imagine voters going for otherwise would be current human poll No. 6 Oklahoma State.  It's going to be tough for the Cowboys to catch Alabama with Virginia Tech and Stanford ahead of them in the polls though.

...Arkansas beats LSU?  Well, assuming Alabama beats Auburn also, the SEC West falls into a three-way tiebreaker, which in this case, would be decided by BCS standings and head-to-head.  The lowest-rated team of the three in this coming Sunday's rankings would be eliminated, and then head-to-head between the other two would decide it.

So, traditional voting patterns would indicate LSU would drop to third (he who loses last, loses worst).  That would give Alabama the division crown.  You could also make a case for ordering them Arkansas, LSU, Alabama (they beat each other, of course, but Bama's win came at home, while the others won on the road).  That would give Arkansas the West title.  I can't imagine Arkansas winning and still being third, but if that happened, LSU is still the West champion.

In any event, whichever team won would play for the BCS title as a 12-1 SEC champion.  That team's opponent is more uncertain, but it could be one of its divison foes, or again, Oklahoma State.

...Georgia wins the SEC?  I don't think it's a difficult concept to accept that the top two teams in the country could be in the same conference.  But, if that is truly the case, don't you think one of them could manage to win the league?

If the Bulldogs pull it off, expect them to shoot way up the rankings.  They might end up even being the top rated SEC team in the human polls (assuming they beat Georgia Tech this week).  In 2001, two-loss, Big 12 champion Colorado finished ahead of one-loss Nebraska in the polls, but NU ended up in the BCS title game anyway because the polls were only 25% of the formula back then.
In any event, this is the best case scenario for an Oklahoma State or Virginia Tech (if the voters still love them) to get into the title game.  I doubt very seriously that we would have two non-champion SEC teams playing for the BCS title.  However, if that does happen, Georgia still would get to go the Sugar Bowl as the SEC titlist.  That situation is the one exception to the two-team-per-conference limit.

Posted on: November 20, 2011 10:22 am
Edited on: November 20, 2011 4:41 pm
 

S-E-C! S-E-C!

The carnage of this weekend will create an unprecedented circumstance in this week's ratings.  The top three teams will all be from one league.  The SEC West trio of LSU, Alabama and Arkansas will rest atop this week's rankings.

After that?  This week's projection much less predicitable.  The coaches still like Oklahoma St to some degree, and only dropped the Cowboys to sixth.  If the Harris folks vote along similar lines (and the projection is changed to reflect that), OSU should still be fourth overall, and viable as a national title contender.

The coaches were also generous with Oregon (ninth - top rated among two-loss teams) and Oklahoma (11th, behind the Ducks and Michigan State).

In the bowl projections, voters may consider Oklahoma State a viable option if the Cowboys beat Oklahoma and win the Big 12.  However, at the moment, they trail both Virginia Tech and Stanford in the polls.  I don't think it's likely OSU would catch Alabama if they have to jump both of those teams without them losing.  Therefore, a rematch between LSU and Alabama is the current projection.

I do have the Cowboys now winning that game and getting to the Fiesta Bowl.

The Sugar would be without an SEC team, so I have them plucking Michigan as an at-large to play Houston.  Stanford would automatically qualify as an at-large team for the second year in a row and end up in the Fiesta.

This afternoon, the University of Miami announced a self-imposed bowl ban in response to the NCAA investigation of the Nevin Shapiro scandal.  The bowl projections will be changed to reflect that decision.

Also, many are asking about Penn State falling out of the Big Ten bowls entirely.  Unfortunately, right now, the Nittany Lions are toxic to the bowls.  Maybe they will soften on PSU over the next couple of weeks.  Maybe one of the lower tier Big Ten bowls will take a flyer on them with the thought that they might never get another shot at Penn State.

Big Ten bowl rules stipulate that the Rose must take the champion and that the championship game loser cannot fall below the Gator in the selection order.  My projection does not have Penn State winning the division, so there would be no restriction preventing the Nits from falling all the way out, even with nine wins.

Posted on: November 8, 2011 10:26 am
 

BCS selection process: Michigan vs Oklahoma St

Most of the comments on this week's bowl picks, besides questioning merely having Michigan in the BCS (one more loss and all this is moot), question why the Wolverines get in ahead of Oklahoma State, which would unquestionably be the higher ranked team.  To understand that, you have to understand the BCS bowl selection process.

You also have to understand what bowls are looking for when creating their matchups.  They want the best possible game they can get, and bowls measure that primarily in terms of ticket sales and TV viewers.  Things like rankings, records and conference standings are secondary considerations at best.  That's why there are so many bowl selection rules, like the one that automatically qualifies the highest-rated non-AQ team for the BCS, or the ACC rule that protects a team from being skipped over by a bowl for another team that won more than one fewer conference games.  If bowls could be trusted to go in conference standing/ranking order, those rules wouldn't be necessary.

The BCS has ten spots.  Six are reserved for the AQ conference champions.  In my projection, those are:

Clemson (ACC), Cincinnati (Big East), Wisconsin (Big Ten), Oklahoma (Big 12), Stanford (Pac-12), LSU (SEC).

There are also four at-large spots, but two teams automatically qualify for those in my projection:

Alabama, as the highest-rated AQ non-champion, ranked in the top four.
Boise State, as the highest-rated non-AQ conference champion, ranked in the top 12.

That only leaves two spots open.  The rest of my at-large pool contains:

Arkansas, Georgia, Houston, Michigan, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Virginia Tech.

Note that with LSU and Alabama automatically qualified for the BCS and a two-team limit per conference, Arkansas and Georgia cannot be chosen.

The first thing that happens is that the top two teams go into the title game, and the other contracted conference champions get put in their bowls.  So, we start with:

Title game: LSU vs Stanford
Rose: Wisconsin vs ?
Fiesta: Oklahoma vs ?
Sugar: ? vs ?
Orange: Clemson vs ?

The next step is that the bowls that lost conference champions to the title game get to choose replacement.  They always choose teams from their conference tie-in if one is available.  The Sugar chooses first because it lost the No. 1 team, and takes Alabama.  The Rose picks Oregon to replace Stanford.  Now, we have:

Title game: LSU vs Stanford
Rose: Wisconsin vs Oregon
Fiesta: Oklahoma vs ?
Sugar: Alabama vs ?
Orange: Clemson vs ?

Boise State and Cincinnati still have to go somewhere, so only one at-large spot is open.

The Fiesta gets the first choice of selections for its game in this year's rotation, followed by the Sugar and Orange.  The Fiesta can chose from Boise State, Cincinnati, Houston, Michigan, Oklahoma State and Virginia Tech.

Michigan blows all of those other teams out of the water in terms of fan base and marquee value.  Not even close.  Also, Michigan's fan base would not be jaded by a recent run of success, as sometimes happens with other schools. 

However, two other choices would be much higher ranked:

Oklahoma State isn't a good choice because conference mate Oklahoma is already there.
Boise State would be OK, but the Fiesta has had the Broncos both times it has been in the BCS (including one memorable meeting with the Sooners), and would probably prefer to leave them for someone else.

So, while the Fiesta might go with Boise, but I think the allure of Michigan will be too good to pass up.

The Sugar gets the next pick, and with only Boise or Cincinnati to choose from, the Broncos are an easy choice.  The Bearcats end up in the Orange, and Oklahoma State and its 11-1 record drop out.

Them's the breaks.  Note that if either of the other bowls had first choice instead of the Fiesta, Oklahoma State would almost certainly be that choice.  Also, if the Fiesta did decide to choose Boise, OSU would almost certainly end up in the Sugar.
Posted on: November 3, 2011 9:55 pm
 

LSU-Alabama, the prequel?

A lot of the speculation surrounding this game isn't just about which team will win, but whether or not this game even matters?  That is because many think we could see this matchup again on Jan. 9th in New Orleans.

I don't think that's a very likely event.  Obviously, Oklahoma State and Stanford have to lose to even have the discussion.  The loser on Saturday will have a couple of things going against them in the eyes of voters.  First, while there isn't a whole lot of precedent on this, voters have shied away from a rematch if there was another good choice available.

In 2006, after a pretty exciting Ohio State-Michigan game that ended 42-39 in favor of the Buckeyes, Michigan fell only to third in the polls, just behind one-loss USC and ahead of six other one-loss teams, led by Florida.  That was the final game of the regular season for the Big Ten schools.

Entering the final week of the season, the Wolverines were still sandwiched between USC and Florida.  That weekend, USC lost to UCLA, opening the door for a rematch.  However, after Florida beat Arkansas for the SEC title, voters pushed the Gators ahead of Michigan and into the BCS title game.

The desire to avoid a rematch wasn't the only thing working against Michigan.  Florida was also a conference champion.  In the 14-year history of the BCS, the top two teams in the final polls have always been conference champions.  Earlier versions of the BCS formula overruled the will of the voters a couple of times and put a non-champion in the BCS title game.  It is harder to do that in this version of the formula, which gives 2/3 of the weight to the voters.

The loser of this game figures to be in the same boat as Michigan.  I think if there is any other reasonable choice, including undefeated Boise State or one-loss Oklahoma, the voters will ultimately go that route, even if they don't do so this week.  And I think that is true no matter how good the game is on Saturday, although obviously a good game is more helpful to the rematch cause than a poor one.

Yes, I did say Boise State up there.  Certainly, if it comes down to a choice of the Broncos or LSU/Alabama, there will be a lot of debate over how "reasonable" a choice Boise State is.  That program has built up a lot of respect with the voters over the last several years, and if the circumstance is right, voters may finally say, "let's see what they got."

 
 
 
 
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